What Bird Should Beginners Get?

Birds are fun little feathered creatures that can bring so much company and amusement to you and your home, but what bird should you get if you’ve never had one before?

Truth is, you can get any bird! Though before you go out buying an African grey, please read ahead to understand why it’s important to do your research before buying any type of bird!

As a quick note, I have written a similar blog on this before called ‘What to consider before buying or adopting a pet!’ so for additional information, search for this WattPad or WordPress blog on Google!

I included that animals are hard work in a variety of ways. They have specific diets, they can have different personalities such as calm or energetic and loud, they require lots of various and interesting toys, food, cleaning materials, vet bills etc. All of this can be pretty expensive! They also need different amounts of time and attention spent on them and they can also be very messy, which can also be expensive time-wise!

Let’s move on to some important things to know before buying a bird!

Why should you do research before buying any bird? Aren’t they all the same?

No! All birds have individual needs so it is extremely important for you to do the correct research in order to avoid accidental neglect!

What happens if you give them the wrong food?

There are various ways in which you can give birds the incorrect diet. Small birds such as lovebirds, budgies, cockatiels and canaries require smaller seeds whereas larger birds such as cockatoos, African greys and macaws require larger seeds.

They also need to be fed the correct amounts. Smaller birds don’t need to be fed too much, usually a bowl of seed and some fresh fruit or veg each day whereas cockatoos, African greys and macaws need to eat larger seeds and be fed more throughout the day. By researching the correct amount of food to give a bird you can avoid them becoming overweight! African grey parrots, budgies, lovebirds and quaker parrots are at higher risk of becoming overweight so be careful with these ones!

Don’t constantly feed them treats either! Their cute, round eyes may tempt you to hand over a few snacks, however by overfeeding them these treats, not only will you increase their risk of becoming overweight but you can also prevent them from eating their usual meals which results in them not getting the right amount of nutrition!

The last and most obvious point is to not feed them chocolate, salt and other foods that can be toxic to them. Make sure to research what food is toxic to birds including toxic plants that could be in your home that they may feel the urge to chew!

Don’t all birds use the same toys?

Toys definitely vary between birds regarding their size and their intelligence. Small birds need small toys whereas larger birds definitely need larger toys! By giving small birds big toys, it could be uncomfortable to them and if you give large birds small toys, they could potentially choke on any small objects that they can easily chew off with their strong beaks, so if you are thinking about getting a big bird, make sure that you have enough room for the larger toys and make sure that you can also afford them!

All birds need toys to stimulate their minds. Without interesting and stimulating toys, they can become bored which increases aggression including biting and screaming for attention, destructive behaviour to their cage and your home and aggressive behaviours towards themselves and other birds including feather-picking, which can result in skin problems and the lack of feathers.

Relating to stimulation, each bird also needs a certain amount of attention from you! Lovebirds and budgies love to interact and play with their owners but are also completely content with chilling on their own, but birds such as cockatiels, cockatoos, African greys and macaws will need much more attention.

On a slightly unrelated note, each bird has their own, as I like to call it, ‘scream-volume’. Canaries and budgies are a popular choice for those who prefer a quieter home whereas cockatoos, cockatiels, African greys and macaws can be much noisier and more talkative. Lovebirds are a mix as at times they can be very loud especially if they hear other birds nearby but they can also have their silent and calm moments!

Relating to feather-picking, there are a number of reasons as to why a bird may pluck their feathers or other bird’s feathers.

-Boredom: As I have mentioned, birds NEED the right stimulating toys or they will find more fun in plucking their feathers and throwing them everywhere!

-Sexual maturity: Sexual maturity can cause birds to become aggressive which may cause them to begin plucking their feathers.

-Stress: Stress can come from a variety of reasons, whether it is the ones we have already covered such as boredom and sexual maturity or because there have been changes to a home such as a new pet that may be irritating them or a change of home altogether!

-Heat/humidity: Birds are relatively clever when it comes to keeping heat in and out of their bodies depending on the weather. Their usual technique is to fluff up their feathers but unfortunately these techniques sometimes also involve feather-pulling in order to keep cool. To avoid this, make sure your bird has enough cold water and enough fresh, cold air during hot days!

-Nesting behaviour during nesting seasons: Birds, particularly female birds, tend to pull their feathers during nesting season as a way to have more materials for their nest.

Birds may also pull their feathers if their cage is dirty and/or they’re on the wrong diet and not getting the right amount of nutrition.

Birds that are more prone to feather-picking include African greys, cockatoos, cockatiels, macaws and conures.

When getting a bird, you also need to consider how much space you have for a cage!

Small birds cope well in small but spacious cages but cockatoos, macaws, African greys, cockatiels and other larger birds will need much bigger cages!

Regarding this, specific groups of birds need differing amounts of time outside their cage. Canaries, lovebirds and budgies don’t need a huge amount of time out of their cage, a few hours at most, but cockatoos, cockatiels, African greys and other birds will need much more time out of their cage, so keep this in mind too!

As for cleaning materials, you can use a small variety of products such as newspaper, paper towels and sand. Some people used gravel cat litter which is a lot safer than wooden cat litter as it doesn’t become mushy and is safer than wooden cat litter, however it is advised to be careful when using gravel cat litter as it could still harm your bird if they ingest it, especially smaller birds who love to chew everything they’re not supposed to, especially younger birds.

So to sum everything up, you can get any bird you wish but there are definitely a few points to consider before buying a certain type of bird.

-What type of diet does your bird require? Make sure you research this to avoid your bird lacking nutrition or becoming overweight!

-What type of toys does your bird need? Make sure the toy is the right size and depending on the intelligence of the bird (e.g. cockatoos have the brains of 4-5 year olds!), make sure that the toys are fun and interesting for them!

-How much attention does the bird need? Are you able to spend that specific amount of time with them?

-Can you cope with the noise levels of the bird?

-Make sure you understand the reasons for feather-picking and how some reasons may be a result of accidental neglect.

-Do you have enough room for the size of cage that they need? Are you able to let them out of the cage for the exact amount of time they need to be out?

-Can you afford everything that comes with a bird, which includes food, toys, cleaning materials, vet bills etc?

*For more information, make sure to check out my other WattPad and WordPress blog ‘What to consider before buying or adopting a pet!’ by searching it on Google!*

What To Do When You Feel Like A Failure!

Most of us have felt like a failure at some point in our lives and feeling like a failure can happen for a variety of reasons.

Before I get into this blog it is certainly important to remember that whether we’ve failed a test, struggled with managing our hobbies or lost a friendship or relationship, those ‘failures’ do not reflect on who we are as a person and certainly don’t mean that we fail at everything in life!

To add, mistakes can suck and may at times be embarrassing but mistakes are normal and also completely okay to make!

There are a few reasons as to why someone may feel like a failure, so let’s take a look at them!

Anyone can feel like a failure, but there are people who are more vulnerable to feeling like a failure than others.

Relating to last week’s blog about perfectionism, people with OCD and people who are perfectionists are prone to feeling like a failure. If you haven’t read that blog, I highly suggest you do in order to receive all the details about perfectionism and why perfectionists and people with OCD may feel like failures!

People who are perfectionists tend to focus on every little mistake, and any mistakes may make them feel like a failure, especially if they struggle to fix any mistakes they have made or don’t have the confidence to, for example, re-do the test, which is also a problem perfectionists may face. They tend to procrastinate as to not keep failing, but by not trying again, they will still feel like a failure regardless. In the end, it is a repetitive and frustrating cycle.

Relating to this, perfectionism parents can be under huge amounts of pressure when it comes to making sure that their child or children are having the best, most successful life possible. They may be hard on their child or children, but also very hard on themselves. They can feel like they’re failing as a parent, especially if their child fails a test, so they put lots of pressure onto their child to study, which passes perfectionism and fear of failing on to their child.

OCD can also make someone feel like a failure. Similar to perfectionism, noticing mistakes is very easy for someone with OCD and they can also feel the same frustration when it comes to the mistake and fixing the mistake.

People with anxiety and depression can also feel like a failure. The thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety and depression are relatively the same; low self-esteem,  feeling guilty over not being able to do particular things such as attend college, university or work, negative thoughts such as feeling useless and worthless and focusing mainly on weaknesses and failures rather than strengths and positive events. All of these can make them feel like a failure.

Now, here are a few useful ways in which you can help yourself for when you’re feeling like a failure!

1. Telling yourself positive affirmations. Give it a go and tell those negative thoughts that you are not a failure and that you are successful at life! There are so many more things that you are good at and can be successful at, so those negative thoughts just need to quiet down and take a backseat!

2. Focus on re-trying! Even if you have failed something once, twice or fifteen times, always keep on re-trying! Of course it can be frustrating trying over and over again, but it could all be worth it in the end! Relating to this, you should also learn how to recognise your strengths and work on those while also working on improving other areas that you are struggling in!

3. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes! Mistakes are a part of life and we honestly wouldn’t learn anything without them. Plus whenever we make a mistake, there’s always room to correct them!

4. Talk to someone about how you are feeling! Whether this is a friend, a family member, a partner or even a professional, all of them can offer you different pieces of comfort, support and advice. For professional help, cognitive behavioural therapists can be very efficient in helping you to change your thought patterns through activities and milestones and allow you to see that you are not a failure!

5. This one may seem cheesy or stereotypical, but imagine if your friend was talking to you about how they feel like a failure. What would you say to them? Whatever you would say, now say it to yourself! There is no harm in giving this a go!

At the end of the day most of us have felt like a failure, but we’re not! Mistakes are a part of life and they always have something to teach us. We just need to take those mistakes on board and improve on them! Even if we do struggle with one thing, there are always ten more things we can succeed at. By focusing on our strengths more than our weaknesses, we can recognise that we are not failures and we are not failing at life! We are all different and no one is better than us and we are not worse at life than others.

Perfectionism- On Being Perfect.

In life, everybody wants to be able to do a good job and feel happy and productive about it. However for someone who is a perfectionist, getting things right can be incredibly frustrating and can have a major impact on their confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing as well as other aspects of their life.

Perfectionism means that people notice every little mistake and can only focus on that mistake until it is corrected. They struggle to focus on the best parts of the project or the best part about themselves and will only feel relaxed when the problem is perfected. They can also repeatedly check to make sure that there are no other mistakes, especially because they are fully focused on the end result instead of the work put towards it.

There are a few reasons as to why someone may be a perfectionist. For example, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is a disorder which can cause compulsions and obsessive thoughts. Part of those obsessive thoughts involve perfectionism. If something doesn’t seem right to a person with OCD, they can have thoughts that if they don’t correct the mistake, someone close to them will get hurt. Someone with OCD can spend up to hours correcting the mistake until it finally looks right. This is very time-consuming and can upset and frustrate them, usually leaving them exhausted. OCD can also involve a person’s own appearance. If a person believes that something about them looks ‘ugly’ such as their nose, their eyebrows, their lips etc, this can damage their confidence and self-esteem and they may do anything they can to remove the parts of themselves that they hate which depending on how they do it, can have physical affects as well as mental and emotional affects. These issues can cause challenges in various aspects of their life such as friendships, relationships and school or work.

Someone who has perfectionist parents may grow up also being a perfectionist.

If they had parents who constantly placed pressure on them, criticized them and complained about small mistakes they made, they will grow up fearing making any mistakes in fear of disappointing anyone around them. This has a negative toll on their school and work life as well as their relationships.

Parents, particularly single parents, are under huge amounts of pressure to make sure that their child is doing well. If they’re not, the parents or parent may believe that they’re doing a bad job of raising and teaching their child. They become harder on themselves as well as becoming harder on their child, pressuring them to do better. 

Perfectionist parents may do the following:

-criticize their child for every mistake, no matter how big or small it is.

-Placing constant pressure on their child to do well with school and their homework as well as making them take part in after-school activities and in-school activities.

-Making the child feel uncomfortable during parents meetings at school and focuses more on the negative points that the teacher may make instead of all the positive points. Note that ‘negative’ points means points that the teacher may make on how the child can improve their work.

-Stand over their child constantly and direct them in how to do specific things such as chores instead of letting the child learn for themselves.

-Picking their child’s clothes out for them in case the child picks out an outfit that doesn’t match.

With the last two points, this can stop the child’s growth in independence and can prevent them from trying out things themselves as they become too dependent on others and rely on them for their input. This can cause them to struggle at school and work as they would rely more on the teachers or their colleagues to tell them whether they’re doing something right or not.

As well as not learning how to be independent and work through issues themselves, they can develop other problems such as anger management difficulties as well as other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and chronic stress. Some children may also begin to rebel against their parents, particularly during the teenage years. This can cause a strain on their relationship with their parents.

When a child, a young person or an adult is a perfectionist, this can cause them to procrastinate on tasks such as homework, coursework and work tasks as they are too afraid to try in case they make any mistakes. This results in them getting into trouble at school or work which can cause negative thoughts and feelings. They will believe that they’re a failure, that they’re not doing good enough and that they’re useless and a disappointment. These thoughts can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Alongside this, children, young people and adults who are perfectionists can also feel jealous of others if they believe that other people are doing better than them. For example if they hear that someone has received an award at school or has had a promotion at work. They can struggle to be happy for these people and may turn it into a competition.

As well as all of these difficulties that can arise, people who are perfectionists can also find it hard to receive any sort of criticism even if it is helpful criticism, and may delve into thoughts they they’re not good enough and that they will never impress others, especially as perfectionism that has been caused by perfectionist parents can cause their child to grow up wanting to please others.

Fortunately, there are ways to battle perfectionism!

Each person is different so of course there are many different ways in how a person can tackle their perfectionism, but let’s look at a few common pieces of help.

Firstly, allowing and accepting thoughts and feelings that are negative. You can feel angry, you can feel sad, you can feel jealous. It is how you feel and it’s helpful to recognise that you feel that way.

Once you’ve felt those emotions, learn how to deal with them in a healthy way! This can be journaling, talking to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling or even attending sessions with a therapist!

CBT can be very useful in helping someone recognise their thought process and learn how to change it through various methods such as understanding that mistakes are okay to make and some mistakes should just be laughed at and accepted!

Mistakes are a part of life and every single one of us will make mistakes at some point in our lives. What matters is how we deal with those mistakes and how we accept them and learn from them.

Impulsiveness- It’s A Bit Like A Hangover!

Impulsiveness is a lot like a hangover. You enjoy your decisions in the moment but then later on you find yourself regretting everything. You’re filled with guilt, shame and even embarrassment at what you have said or done.

There are many reasons as to why someone is impulsive but first of all, let’s get into the difference between general impulsiveness and impulsiveness caused by a particular problem.

Everybody at some point has made an impulsive decision whether it was buying something in a shop that we really liked the look of but never considered if we actually needed it or not or accepting to do a favour for someone as soon as they asked. These decisions don’t usually cause any harm, or at least long-term harm.

Here is a list of conditions and other problems that can cause impulsiveness which can cause long-term harm.

To start off, let’s add an important note. People with schizophrenia are not dangerous and in fact are more likely to hurt themselves than others. Sources like to spread stigma that those with schizophrenia are dangerous when in fact they’re not! One of the challenges they face is delusions and hallucinations that feel very real to them. This can cause them to become aggressive and impulsive as their decisions are made purely due to their detachment from reality. This is the same for mental health conditions such as psychosis. Medications such as anti-psychotics can help with stabilising and controlling impulsiveness.

Those with Dissociative Identity Disorder have ‘alters’ which can be formed from situations such as childhood abuse and sexual assault. These ‘alters’ can protect the person from their own identity and their own negative experiences. Some of these alters can be aggressive and impulsive especially when protecting the person against upsetting scenarios.

People with bipolar can experience impulsiveness during manic episodes. Manic episodes can cause them to partake in dangerous activities such as speeding and getting into trouble with the police as they see these activities as ‘exciting’.

Certain types of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia can cause impulsivity as the front part of the brain is responsible for cognition, reasoning and impulse control. As the activity of this part of the brain deteriorates, the person with frontotemporal dementia will struggle in realising what is right and wrong and will struggle with making decisions which can cause aggression and impulsivity.

Borderline Personality Disorder can cause aggression and impulsivity as those with this personality disorder can struggle to regulate their emotions, especially negative emotions like anger and frustration. Medications such as mood stabilisers really help with controlling impulsiveness and regulating emotions.

PTSD can increase feelings of fear and powerlessness in people which can set off impulsivity as they try to fight off what is causing them to be panicked and fearful.

Impulsiveness with ADHD is typically linked to hyperactivity. Hyperactivity can cause someone with ADHD to do and say things with little to no thought on the consequences. In particular, Children with ADHD who are hyperactive and impulsive will know that a lot of the time their words and actions are considered rude which can put a strain on their relationships with their parents, their friends and other people. With this, they can feel ashamed and guilty which then can make them feel very frustrated and misunderstood.

As with ADHD, autism can also cause impulsivity through restlessness and overactivity as those with autism can find it difficult to focus on tasks and may do something impulsively as a reaction to their lack of concentration.

For people with ADHD and autism, self-care methods such as taking deep breaths to calm down and writing in a journal about how they’re feeling can work really well and can prevent them from saying or doing something they shouldn’t.

Anti-social behaviour can cause impulsiveness due to aggression and the lack of not just awareness of any consequences but also the lack of awareness of other people and their feelings. Anti-social behaviour can be worsened by drug and alcohol abuse, both of which also cause impulsive decisions to be made such as property destruction and harming others.

Even though feelings of anger are important when letting us know that something is wrong, if the anger becomes uncontrollable then it can cause problems such as suddenly lashing out and punching walls or doors. Even though some may say that it is better than punching people, which of course it is, there are however two bad areas to this. First of all, punching walls is not a safe or effective way of managing anger and at times, it instead fuels the anger. The second point is that a person may start out punching walls and doors but may end up punching a person during an argument instead which can make situations worse.

As mentioned before with anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse can change the way a person thinks and reacts which can result in stupid, dangerous and aggressive impulsive decisions being made which can affect them and others.

Impulsiveness isn’t fun, whether it is general impulsiveness or impulsiveness caused by a deeper issue, though it is definitely important to note the difference between these two things and how harmful it can be for those who struggle with impulsiveness. There are a lot of negative words to describe those who have challenges with impulsiveness: Unstable, inconsiderate, unpredictable, annoying, rude, reckless, uncaring etc. It should be noted that serious impulsiveness is not the fault of the person and is a very difficult thing for them to control. With a little bit of compassion and understanding we can start to see things from their perspective and know what they’re going through and how they’re feeling.